City Hall officials and civil society organisations yesterday urged leaders of educational institutions to strengthen smoke-free environments in a bid to protect children and the youth from tobacco.
A workshop at the Phnom Penh Education, Youth and Sport Department yesterday highlighted the importance of making schools across the capital smoke-free.
Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Keo Sok Pisey said that City Hall has disseminated information on the Law on Tobacco Control, relevant sub-decrees and regulations, as well as strengthened the implementation of smoke-free environments.
“But these positive things are not yet enough,” Ms Pisey said. “This is because our people still face health risks as some in the tobacco industry still sell cigarettes without displaying warning messages, as the law stipulates, advertise cigarettes in various ways, and there are also people who are still smoking at work and in public spaces, which should be banned.”
She added that City Hall will also continue to prevent all kinds of tobacco advertisements in order to protect the general public, especially youth.
Hem Sinareth, director of the Phnom Penh Department of Education, said that the implementation of a smoke-free environment in educational institutions is a way to reduce tobacco consumption.
He added that the move is also in line with the Law on Tobacco Control and a sub-decree on the prohibition of smoking tobacco products in workplaces and public spaces, which includes schools.
“I would like to encourage all teachers to pay close attention, to understand their duties and to practice the implementation of smoke-free environment in their schools effectively,” Mr Sinareth said.
Mom Kong, executive director of Cambodia Movement for Health, said that educational institutions must put ‘no smoking’ signs at the entrance area or in areas where the sign would be easily seen, which would discourage people from smoking on campus.
“The implementation of schools as a smoke-free environment in Phnom Penh has been good,” Mr Kong said. “However, we don’t monitor it close enough. So from next month, a working team will study and monitor the practice of smoke-free environment.”
Sok Sovan, director of Hun Sen Chambak Meas Secondary School in Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changva district, said that his school previously did not disseminate information to students about the impact of tobacco products, as the school is already a smoke-free zone.
“After this workshop, I will disseminate information on the effects of smoking or using tobacco products to teachers and students to prevent them from smoking in the future,” Mr Sovan said.